The Frontside Grind
So how is the frontside in relation to other grinds? Well, I would say it is the most basic grind possible. The grinding surfaces on the frontside is are the two inner grindplates on both skate. So your legs form kindof an upside-down "V". (At this point, you should do a hand- stand on your chair.) Now, similiar grinds to the frontside are mainly: Cowboy Grind, Royale, Farvegnugen, and the Unity. These are all like the frontside, because they use either the outer or the inner grindplates as a grinding surface. There are no soles used, or anything. It's pretty basic.
Okay, to do a frontside, you must do the main thing first: Get your footing familiarized. Like be able to stall on a curb in the position pretty fast, and stick it, then jump off and land normal. All with your skates on. So try that for awhile, like jump on your curb, rail, whatever, and just sit there, imagine what life will be like when you are finally able to grind, and then jump off. Next, try actually grinding. Approach from whatever side is comfortable for you. Now jump slightly up, and I emphasis slightly, because you kindof want to just "step on" the curb, don't try to do it Disaster, because you'll just get caught, and fall. So lightly step up on the curb with your front foot first! This means, lift that foot first, and apply most the pressure there. The back foot will then be set on the curb, and kindof drag along. The frontfoot carries about 80% of the weight, and the backfoot about 10%. The other 10% of the weight is in the stomach where you've eaten too many Fat Boy Ice Cream Sandwiches. Now, once you kindof enjoy your grind for awhile, you have to jump off. Usually, you'll start slowing down after awhile, unless you're on a rail. In which case, you should jump off a little before the end of the rail. But on a curb, jump off just before you come to a complete stop, and land. You can either get off fakie, or regular. Try regular for now, and then try fakie when you are pretty good at it. That's it...just try it out, and if say it's too hard, then you really stink, because your 9 year old neighbor down the streets wearing "Blaze" skates could do it...
The sole-grind is the next most simple grind next to the frontside. All it is, is a frontside, with the weight on the back sole. You make sort of a "T-shape" with your skates, and lean the front skate forward, while you tip it at an angle. The Sole Grind is similiar to ALOT of grinds. But we'll name the basic ones here, for instance they are: Acid Soul, X-Grind, and the alley oop tricks (sole, acid, x-grind), the Makio, and the soyale. All of these use the sole in the same way as a sole-grind. Kindof.
First off, try a stall of the sole grind. Try to keep most the weight on the foot that is using the sole. The other foot, the one in position like the frontside, is used as a counter-balance, and should be pressed down, but not extremely hard. Get good at jumping on and off, and then back up, because we're gonna actually try it! Go back a distance from your grinding surface on your most comfortable side. Now skate up to the surface at a moderate speed. Anticipate what you're gonna do. As you take off, your feet should already be in the sole-grind position. As you make contact with the curb, remember to keep the weight on your sole. Now place your right foot in front of the sole, you should be moving (grinding) as this happens. Take awhile to enjoy the grind, then hop off. It is usually comfortable to jump off fakie (backwards), but also forward is convienent for some people. Get good at this, so you can do almost every attempt, then go get a crown at Burger King, and wear it around for the remainder of the day....um...ya.
The Art of the Royale Grind
The Royale is a difficult trick to master. As you can see from the picture, it is similiar to a frontside, however, instead of the back foot trailing behind and grinding on it's inner grindplate, it is grinding on the outer edge of the wheel frame. Also, the weight is pressured on the back foot, as opposed to the front foot as seen in the frontside. As we did with the frontside and the sole-grind, you must first stall in the royale position. This is something you're going to want to use on every grind that you are learning. When stalling in the royale position, keep in mind that your back foot is going to be landing first, and will be absorbing most of the pressure. Also remember that it will be much different as you actually grind, and you have to be careful that your feet don't slip out from under you. To start forming good habits now, just put your legs about shoulder width apart, and keep it that way, so that you don't let your back foot loose, and his your hip. Practice a still stall, and then work on a moving stall, like we did before. As usual, get good at this, then continue to the regular grind. Note: When doing the royale, it is recommended that you unbuckle your backfoot skate, or at least loosen it. This will help you to bend it into the proper position easier, without breaking your ankle or something.
Approach your curb at a medium speed. Look at the spot that you anticipate landing on...now, as you come to the curb, turn your body slightly so you are facing it, now extend your back foot, and begin putting it in the royale position. Make sure it's pointing away from you, so that the grinding surface is on the outer side of your skate. As you make contact, begin putting your front foot in it's place. Your legs should look parellel to eachother almost, and they should be about shoulder width apart. As you do this, lean back, not so far that you fall over, but enough that you put the most pressure (if not all of it) on your back foot. This one will probably take awhile to master, so don't give up. Just keep at it for 2 or 3 days, or longer.
Railsliding and You
Railsliding is like grinding, but you do it on a rail. Rails can range from ground rails, to portable rails, to handrails. Most rails are made of metal, or of PVC pipes. They are pretty much a pipe of some sort, and this is what you grind on. Ground rails are things like bike racks, and anything else that has rail characteristics, and is suspended to the ground. Portable rails are rails that are constructed by you, or some company. These can also be just old tether ball bars, basketball hoops, or anything else you can find that is grindable. Handrails are those rails that go down stairs. They are usually found at libraries, schools, churches, and many other buildings. They are about 3 to 4 feet off the ground, and range in length from very short 4 feet to, 40 feet! There are two types of handrails, straight handrails, which are straight down, at an angle of course, and then kinked rails. Kinked rails are when a staircase breaks, and in between there is a small area of flat ground, then continues onto stairs again. All types of rails are used like a curb, or a bench, in the sense that you connect in between your 2nd and 3rd wheel, or your sole, and you grind on them.
Railsliding and You (part 2)
Finding a good rail
When looking for a rail to slide on, keep some things in mind: You don't want it too steep; You don't want it too short; and you don't want it to be near anything that might kill you on your landing. (I.E., telephone poles, lightpoles, a freeway, etc) Any kind of rail that isn't too steep, is somewhat long, or very long, and is free of obstacles is usually a good rail. However, try looking for pure metal rails, like aluminum, steel, or any other metal. Rails that are painted are usually harder to grind on, given the slipperiness, and clogged up grinding area. Try to find a rail that isn't too high as well. If it's more than 4 feet high, don't even try it, because you won't be able to get up, let alone do any grinding. All ground rails, and portable rails are basically the same as grinding on a curb, or a bench. It really isn't much different, however, it might be slicker, so be prepared for that. Otherwise, just treat it how you would a regular waxed up curb. Handrails however are slightly more difficult. Cross that, they are much more difficult. After you find a good handrail, make sure you've got a good area to gain some speed.
Railsliding and You (part 3)
Grinding the Rail
Now, if the rail you are grinding is left of you, then get right of it, about 2 feet right of it. Approach it your first time with your hands out, ready to grab the rail. Grab the rail with your hands, and lift your self up. Bend your knees ALOT, and get in your regular frontside position. You might be a little slanted up, so get momentum by pushing off with your hands and start grinding. Stand up more as you go down, and enjoy the ride. As you reach the bottom, prepare for your landing. Bend your knees again, and get ready for impact, it's big at first. You can land regular or fakie, it really doesn't matter, just whatever feels comfortable. As you land, your knees should be bent, and bend more to absorb the impact of the fall. Stand back up, and skate back to the rail. Practice doing it with your hands for awhile, until you're comfortable with it.
Now try it without hands. This is going to be much harder, because you're going to jump up higher all by yourself, without hands, and connected to the rail, and gain the momentum necessary to get a good angle. Just make sure you keep your knees bent, because the more they are bent, they higher your skates are, which is all that needs to be connected. Remember, you can always straighten out your legs once you're on top. Just do the same as before, and land like you did. That's all there is to it!
The Backside/Fastslide Grind
Contrary to what you might think, one footed fast slides are actually easier than grinding a rail- Assuming you do them on the right rail. The first step is to find a nice short rail, preferably down 3 to 5 steps. Then, skate straight towards it and jump as high as you can to see if you can make it above the rail. Don't try and jump over the rail your first time, just jump next to it so you can't catch your feet on it. If you're having problems getting high enough, try going faster. The faster you go, the farther out you'll jump and the farther down the rail you'll be when you peak. If you still can jump high enough to clear it, you probably need to work on jumping things normally. After all, if you can jump to get on top of the rail, how do you expect to grind it?!
Before you go any further, let me define a few terms for skate of clarity. A fast slide is a grind in which the lead foot (the one furthest down the rail) is sliding along the rail, and the trailing foot isn't on. A back slide is the opposite, with the trailing foot being slid upon and with the lead foot being lifted/grabbed. A soul slide is a soul grind in which the lead foot is lifted off and you are grinding only on the soul of your soul foot. With that out of the way on to the how-to.
Once you can jump high enough, you should be ready to give fast slides a shot. One key is to approach from a slight angle so that you'll just cross over the bottom of the rail. Get some speed up, jump and turn so that you are parallel to the rail. Stick your leg out, tap the rail, pull it in, and you are done. In reality you are not grinding, but sliding. Though a few top skaters can actually grind in this fashion, the vast majority simply do a slide. So remember to jump high enough and with your body straight enough that you can stick your leg down and toe tap the rail.
Back slides are found to be easier to do than fast slides by most. To do a back slide you approach the rail just like you were going to do a normal grind, except you want to hit the rail with just the outside edge of your back foot. Remember, the key is that you don't want to put any weight on the sliding foot or it will slide out from under you and you will jack your ribs.
A few key things to remember when doing fast (and back) slides are speed, spin, and control. If you are doing a long rail, or a shallow rail, you will need tons of speed to be able to fast slide it and not have to put any weight on the foot. If you are used to just frontsiding the rail, its a big mental jump to do these, but its quite possible. Remember that you are basically just jumping over the rail and throwing in what looks like a grind. The next two important things to remember- spin and control- go hand in hand. Because you are going so fast and the rails are smaller than normal, you will need to spin very fast to be able to make the grind and make the landing. You need to be in total control of your body when it is in the air, and hopefully it'll be possible to pull it out.
Once you're done with that, all that's left is variations, bigger rails, and actually grinding it.. As you get comfortable with the sliding and getting into the correct position, you should be able to actually start grinding the rail instead of toe tapping it. This will make it more stylish, and also able to do longer rails. If you are ready to try the real thing, read up on royales first, as they are as close to it as you can get.
The Makio Grind
A makio is pretty much the same as the back slide, with two minor differences. The first and obvious one is that your sliding foot is doing a soul slide on the rail. The second difference is that you don't need to turn your body perpendicular to the rail to soul. You can just keep going straight ahead and it'll work fine.
Being able to do soul grinds is a big help when trying to learn this trick because being able to lock in the soul foot is a skill that takes a bit of practice to acquire. In any case, you approach the rail just like you are going to do a soul grind. Make sure you jump up high and get your weight on top of the rail. Lock in the soul foot and away you go. The free foot can be doing any number of things, but a typical action is for it to be either grabbed by a free hand or placed next to the souling foot. Soul like normal and hop off of the rail. The beauty of this trick is that it is an easy extension to soul grinds because a proper soul grind has almost no weight on the lead foot. And since little weight is placed on the lead foot, it is easy to take it off. The only hard adjustment to make is balance. For many, the lead foot acts as a rudder and guides you down the rail. However after a bit of practice it becomes easier.
So remember to jump high, get your weight over the rail, lock in the soul foot solid, and ride it out.. Good luck, and remember no rail is too long!
The Miszou Grind
Finding a good rail